Ryder Cup captains past and present Colin Montgomerie and Jose Maria Olazabal are part of a 96-strong field at Sunningdale tomorrow battling for 10 places in next month’s Open Championship.
The 36-hole event is the last of five international qualifying tournaments held in Australia, South Africa, Asia, America and Europe.
Montgomerie and Olazabal are also two of eight Ryder Cup players taking part. Ross Fisher, Paul McGinley, David Howell, Oliver Wilson, Thomas Levet and Niclas Fasth are the others, while double Masters champion Olazabal is not the only major champion in action – American Rich Beem, who pipped Tiger Woods for the 2002 USPGA title, is trying to get to Royal Lytham through this route as well.
Fasth was runner-up to David Duval the last time the Open was at Lytham 11 years ago in a week when Montgomerie led after both 18 and 36 holes, but then fell back to joint 13th. The 49-year-old – it was his birthday this Saturday - never has won a major and is now older than any major champion in history.
Another at Sunningdale is Tom Lewis, whose opening 65 at Sandwich last July not only gave him a share of the lead with Thomas Bjorn, but was also the lowest round ever by an amateur in the championship.